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Working and Volunteering Overseas

  • Living and Working in Iraq
    Spouse on the Scene: Foreign Service Memories from Iraq by Melissa Brayer-Hess Living and working in Iraq as part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is a challenging, enlightening, and sometimes crazy experience. I am a Foreign Service spouse turned civil servant, currently serving a one-year excursion tour in Babil, Iraq as the Babil PRT’s [...]
  • Tips for Summer Hires and Their Supervisors
    My first job was as a summer hire at the US Embassy in Brasilia, I helped facilitate bilateral communications by writing Diplomatic Notes, drafting Government Cables and I even got an email from Secretary of State John Kerry. This is what I’m planning on writing on my college applications and telling my non-embassy friends. It [...]
  • EFM Employment Outside the Mission at Overseas Posts
    The Family Member Employment Report from 2013 was just released. It shows that, as in 2012, 12%, or 1,416, spouses/partners, work outside the Mission worldwide. Of these, 28% are employed in education, 12% are freelancers, 14% work on the local economy, 13% are telecommuters, and 11% operate a home-based business. What these data do not [...]
  • Starting an Internet-Based Home Business
    When we were first posted to Singapore in 2009, I had high hopes of finding a job on the local economy as an actuary. I had done a lot of research prior to our move and Singapore was one of the best posts for actuarial work, so I was very optimistic! After spending a few [...]
  • Telecommuting While Overseas: A Proposal
    On our first overseas tour it only took six months for me to receive my security clearance and begin working as an Eligible Family Member. I was lucky. Yes, it’s true that verifying fingerprints for visa applicants, a task I was able to pick up in about fifteen minutes required a bit less skill than [...]
  • The Perks and Pitfalls of Teaching Abroad
    By Elizabeth Covington Craving a portable, fulfilling career while a trailing spouse? Teaching in international schools might be just the job for you—but don’t expect it to be a cakewalk. First, allow me to describe the various types of “international schools.” I have never taught for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), which runs [...]
  • Community Development in Zambia
    My mother told me that one of the greatest positive changes in her life occurred when my father installed a hand water pump inside our Minnesota farmhouse in 1945. At that time, my parents had five children. I was reminded of this when my resolution to connect deeply with Africa took shape this year in response to a request for help in Nsongwe, Zambia. Nsongwe is the home of 1,500 people of the Tokaleya tribe and rests on a plateau above the Zambezi River.
  • Ideas for Improving Family Member Employment in Overseas Missions
    This is the third article in the series on family member employment. The previous article reviewed what we currently know (or don’t know) about family member employment and highlighted important resources for those seeking employment abroad and upon return to the U.S. As Layla points out, the State Department has done a remarkable job of [...]
  • Family Member Employment: Information and Resources
    This is the second in a series on family member employment in the Foreign Service. The first installment was featured in the February Global Link newsletter. As part of my series on family member employment, I have been engaged in many conversations with FS spouses/partners. It quickly became obvious to me that an important first step [...]
  • What is a Family Member Appointment?
    What is an Family Member Appointment (FMA) and How Does it Work for You? There are variety of hiring mechanisms for employing family members inside a U.S. mission. The FMA hiring mechanism offers the broadest set of benefits and is used to employ appointment eligible family members —U.S. citizen spouses, domestic partners or unmarried children [...]
  • The "Eligible Family Member" Work Situation
    By Caitlin Hartford – Feb 2012 First my disclaimer: This is one couple’s experience at a very large post in a huge city wherein the EFM (husband in this case) is a novice at the local language. Everyone’s experience will be different depending upon their professional desires, work experience, competition from other EFMs or the [...]
  • Interview with Rebecca Grappo, FS Spouse Entrepreneur
    FS Spouse and Educational Consultant From Global Link, March 2011 issue. Interviewed by Kelly Bembry Midura. How long have you been in the Foreign Service, and where have you been posted? “We’ve” been in the FS almost 26 years now. I say “we” because as you know, this is a family affair! Our first assignment [...]
  • Leveraging Your Foreign Service Experience by Studying Abroad
    By Kristi Streiffert I have a diploma I can’t read. It is printed in Greek. From 2006-2008, while my husband was posted to Nicosia, I enrolled in the University of Cyprus’ very first Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. This professional program was offered in English and I jumped at the chance to enroll since [...]
  • Ladies, Start Your Businesses!
    By Stephanie Ward Whatever the reason for starting a business, there are several important tips that apply to everyone. Unfortunately, some women’s ability to execute the advice may be hampered by their own underlying beliefs. Many women and men are drawn to starting an enterprise because of the desire for independence and the opportunity to [...]
  • On Being a Male Spouse in the Foreign Service
    I’m a trailing spouse husband, a rarity it may seem, but an increasing number of males are following their spouse (or partner) into the Foreign Service. This is our first post, and I would like to share my thoughts and experiences on the Foreign Service spousal employment front. I’ve heard spouses talk about their employment [...]
  • Finding Work as a Trailing Spouse
    By Jeff Porter On March 23, Jeff Porter joined other AAFSW members in a panel discussion on "The Foreign Service: Still in Transition." For those who could not attend the event at the Women’s National Democratic Club, Jeff offers his comments on finding employment as a FS spouse. Since marrying and becoming labeled a "foreign-born, [...]
  • Just Do It: Volunteering in the Foreign Service
    By Leslie Ashby Recently, AAFSW sat down in cyberspace with the six winners of the 2005 Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA), and new AAFSW members, to learn their thoughts on volunteering in the Foreign Service. They drew from their own experiences to offer advice on getting and staying involved in volunteer [...]
  • Identity and the Accompanying Spouse
    By Charise M. Hoge, MSW One of the most challenging aspects of being the accompanying spouse in an overseas move is this: how to maintain a sense of self in the midst of so much change. In the book A Portable Identity: A Woman’s Guide to Maintaining a Sense of Self While Moving Overseas by [...]
  • Family Member Employment: At Work in the Mission
    Family member employment is a key issue for foreign affairs agencies. Here is a comprehensive look at the options for work inside missions. Note: This article was first published in the July-August 2005 issue of AFSA’s Foreign Service Journal. By Shawn Dorman Preference for Mission Jobs Hiring Categories "Either CLO or Clerical" About Money Local [...]
  • Making Volunteerism Work for You
    By Jan Fischer Bachman Your partner has a fabulous job possibility at a post with few employment prospects for family members. Or your work permit is almost ready …just as it has been for the past ten months. Or you don’t want the inflexible schedule of a full-time job-or you’ve always dreamed of helping street [...]

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